Relieve Pain and Breast Swelling With Cabbage Leaves
Women use cabbage leaves to help reduce breast inflammation and relieve the pain and discomfort 1that breast engorgement, or weaning a baby from breastfeeding can cause. Here’s what you need to know about how it works and the step to using cabbage leaves on your breasts.
Does Using Cabbage Leaves on Your Breasts Work?
Many breastfeeding moms believe that placing cold cabbage leaves on the breasts is helpful. Researchers have found the cabbage leaf has properties that help reduce the pain and swelling.2
How to Use Cabbage Leaves
Cold cabbage leaves are soothing. Here’s how to use cabbage leaves to relieve pain when your breasts are sore from engorgement.
- Before you use cabbage leaves for engorged breasts, you want them to be cold. So, place a head of cabbage in the refrigerator.3
- Once the head of cabbage is chilled, remove it from the refrigerator. Peel off the outer layer of leaves, and throw them away.3 Then, pull off two of the inner leaves and place the head of cabbage back into the refrigerator, so it will be ready the next time you need it.
- In the sink, use cold water to rinse off the two leaves you just removed. You want to be sure that they are clean and free from dirt, pesticides, and residue.
- Remove excess water from the leaves by gently patting them dry with a clean towel.
- After you rinse the leaves, carefully cut out the stem from the center of each leaf without cutting it into two pieces. You want to keep it as one piece with a slit down the middle. Once you remove the stem and cut the slit, the leaves will be able to fit nicely over your breasts without covering your nipple.
- Next, place the clean, cold cabbage leaves on your breasts. Wrap each leaf around each breast, but leave your nipples exposed.3 By keeping the cabbage off of your nipples, the skin around your nipples will stay dry and intact.
- Hold the cabbage leaves in place on your breasts the same way you would hold a cold compress. Or, you can wear a bra to keep the leaves in place for you. If you’re worried about leaking, put a clean, dry on top of the cabbage leaf to soak up the breast milk.
- You can leave the cabbage leaves on your breasts for approximately 20 minutes3 or until they become warm. Then, remove them from your breasts.
- Throw away the wilted leaves and use fresh ones the next time.
- Repeat this process until you begin to get some relief and feel better.
If You’re Still Breastfeeding or Pumping
If you are still breastfeeding or and just want to use cabbage leaves to help decrease breast swelling and relieve breast engorgement, be careful not to overdo it. Once you notice your breasts are feeling better, and the swelling has gone down, stop using the cabbage on your breast.
While the use of cold compresses or cold cabbage leaves does help to lessen breast swelling and engorgement.3 If you continue to use cold cabbage leaves on your breasts after you relieve the swelling and engorgement, it’s possible to end up with a greater decrease in your breast milk supply than you were expecting.